The thing I like about it is the convenience. Sometimes I don’t always have a portable recorder with me, or even if I do have some small rig it may not be easily accessible where I can break it out to record at a moments notice. Technical quality will take a hit but that’s to be expected.
When I was a student, I had an instructor who always told us that the most important thing about a microphone is – “do you have one?” Coming away with any recording of an interesting sound, is better than none at all. This always stuck with me and I think being in that mindset has paid off. In particular I can think of a really cool recording of a train passing by while I was waiting in my car. I used my phone with the Rode i-XY.
I interviewed Tamas Dragon who has captured a lot of field recordings using the Rode i-XY. His samples sounded pretty good, and I really liked his attitude and approach to using a mobile phone recording kit.
I bought a used i-XY from eBay and gave it a spin. I got the 30-pin version (there is a more modern lightning-connection version available now). The microphone itself is well-constructed, sturdy, and looks good. It attaches to the phone fairly decently, although a moderate degree of pressure will knock it off. It was used, and didn’t come with the foam ball wind protection, but I bought an aftermarket windjammer.
The Rode software is pretty good. They offer a free and also a paid version. The paid version unlocked additional tools. There were a few bugs but generally it worked okay. I was using a 4S at the time, and there was a substantial delay beginning rolling. Other than that, it was decent. The metadata and sharing/transferring options were a highlight.
As for the sound… in one way it is difficult to judge since I am used to the sound of much more expensive microphones. Generally, I felt it sounded a bit flat. However, I may be spoiled by better mics. It wasn’t awful by any means.
However, it had very little power. I found I had to crank the gain to get serviceable level. Of course, this introduced a lot of noise, and pretty much made those recording useless. I found the only recordings I was able to make work were busy, active locations like traffic, or heavy crowd. Quieter tracks simply had too much hiss. The lightning version may improve upon this, however.
Notably, the Rode software also included iZotope RX software. I didn’t spend too much time with this, however the settings didn’t have enough sophistication to offset the noise I was experiencing. The noise reduction was obvious and had pumping.
Tamas may show up here and offer a contrasting experience; he has captured pretty good tracks with that mic.
I have a review of the i-XY in the works which I’ll get out in the next few months. In the meantime, here’s an (unmastered) example of an i-XY recording of a food court:
Hi. From indirect experience, shared with me by a friend of mine, he used to like the rode mic for iPad, the 30 pin version, so an old one. I can only say he used it much and was pleased, in many situation where he was not having with him better equipment. Eventually he sold it when he bought a more recent model of iPad with the new and more little lightning port and he went looking for other ones having already the lighting out.
About myself instead I had a upside down experience so to speak. Saying so as I owned a zoom portable H2n much time before owning my first iPad. I know it’s a budget portable recording device, but has 4 different recording setups and the ability to tweak’em accordingly to one’s need and every situation. In fact being so little and fast to use, saved me many times when I was here or there (city, stations, countryside, animals chatting, public places people chatting, hard working industrial machines and any kind of noises) and suddenly some interesting sound where happening and I was able to record them on the go. Of course is sensible so I was putting it on a rigid surface, whenever possible, an not touching it while recording. But, back to the point, when I finally got my iPad I discovered (after some attempts) that if connected to a non brand Chinese USB hub and then to the cck the iPad was seeing it as a mic. (Surprise to me, as normally plugged directly to the iPad that annoying pop up inscription always said that was not possible to use it because draining too much battery) So, as said, plugging it to a cheap USB hub and the USB hub to the iPad, I finally have been able to use it as iOS mic. Recorded some stuff in that way in the iPad and after edited or tweaked through various effects in audiobus.
So, probably, if it was the other way round, I mean buying firstly the iPad and then a iOS mic, I’d probably get a zoom one, as in my needs and use, they are good enough. But you know, each model has its background noise, so better to try it out yourself if you can, before choosing which one you’ going to purchase. My 2 cents. Cheers. (Sorry for my pour English:-) I’m not a native speaker) Greets
I just use a stand alone Tascam DR-05 myself. It seems to get the job done and has a number of settings for the built in condensers. as for iOS I can’t really comment. I am a Linux musician. A separate field recorder is always an option and then you can plug it into a computer and upload your recordings to cloud storage for use on any device.